Links 8/7/15

‘How Cats Took Over the Internet’ at the Museum of the Moving Image New York Times

Twilight of the Bomb Motherboard

Tiny black holes could trigger collapse of universe—except that they don’t Science/AAAS (furzy mouse)

Teaching Machines to Understand Us MIT Technology Review (David L)

All languages have evolved to have this in common Science/AAAS (furzy mouse)

Understanding Statistical Power and Significance Testing – an interactive visualization RPsychologist

Visualization China shrinking economy Business Insider (furzy mouse)

Malaysia mess puts Goldman Sachs in the hot seat Reuters

Europe approves rule mandating central clearing for derivatives FierceFinancIT (margarita)

Seeking Refuge: In Denmark, chill deepens toward accepting refugees Christian Science Monitor

After Greece: Saving EMU Huffington Post

Germany just got some shockingly bad industrial production news Business Insider. Gee, so how’s that deflationary policy working out?


Varoufakis Advisor James Galbraith: ‘Not Even Schäuble Thinks It’s a Good Solution’ Der Spiegel (Margarita). WTF? Now Galbraith walks back Varoufakis’ “Plan B” discussion, and confirms what we said, that all it was was what we called a “plan to have a plan.” Or as one economist said privately, “This is like convening structural engineers on the Titanic and asking them to describe how the ship will sink. If I were a German reading this interview, it would confirm my worst prejudices about Greeks being both devious and incompetent.”

Greek civil servants scramble to retire over fears of pension cuts ekathimerini

Bank recap and NPL management create conundrum in bailout talks Macropolis (free subscription)

The Seventh-Largest Economy in the World Spirals Down Wolf Richter


Russians Hacked Joint Chiefs of Staff Daily Beast (furzy mouse)


Obama ushers in the crisis of the Israel lobby Mondoweiss (Judy B)

Chuck Schumer Planning To Break With Obama, Oppose Iran Deal Huffington Post

We don’t occupy Libya so ISIS fills the vacuum Slightly East of New. Resilc: “If you aren’t prepared to run the country, either don’t go in or get ready to live with the consequences: If you aren’t willing to be the government, you can bet there are people who are, but you may not like them…It is demand creation of DoD/CIA/State Dept services, meanwhile my truck was swallowed by I-84.”

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Fourth Circuit adopts mosaic theory, holds that obtaining “extended” cell-site records requires a warrant Washington Post. A rare bit of good news.

New Developments in Julian Assange’s Epic Struggle for Justice Truthout

Drug Dog Outrage: They Are Trained to Alert Alternet

Imperial Collapse Watch

How much longer for the “long war”? Who will win? Fabius Maximus (resilc)

The Disastrous Neocon Mindset Consortiumnews

American Democracy Has to Do Better Than This William Greider, Nation (Joe Costello). A righteous rant.

What Would Happen If the U.S. Defunded Planned Parenthood? Pacific Standard (Chuck L)

Where’s the #BlackLivesMatter Critique of the Black Misleadership Class, or Obama or Hillary? Bruce Dixon

Republican Slugfest

Tonight’s Republican Debate Is the Party’s Worst Nightmare New Republic. The outcome was so easy to foresee that TNR could do a pre-mortem.

Top Cringe Worthy Foreign Policy Moments in GOP Debate Juan Cole (resilc)

Republican debate: Donald Trump still focus of campaign after sprawling fight – as it happened Guardian (furzy mouse)

Bush and Trump Aren’t Among the G.O.P. Debate Winners New York Times

Donald Trump the loser of the Republican debate Ed Luce, Financial Times

Donald Trump Speaks the Truth Adam Levitin, Credit Slips

Before Main Republican Debate, Bottom 7 Contenders Put On Brave Faces New York Times

Megyn Kelly Calls Out Trump for Sexism Daily Beast (furzy mouse). As Lambert pointed out, to Fox’s credit, it was not throwing softballs.

Trump ‘Paid’ Hillary to Be Wedding Guest Daily Beast (furzy mouse)

Can Bernie Sanders Beat Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire? Bloomberg

Pennsylvania Attorney General, Kathleen Kane, Charged in Leak Case New York Times

Alabama’s Meth Lab Law, Abortion Rights, and the Strange Case of Jane Doe Pacific Standard (Chuck L)

The Uberisation of activism New York Times (EM). Great, now we are rebranding astroturf as activism? Who knows how many of the people Uber got to pipe up on its behalf were users, as opposed to people with an economic interest in Uber (direct or indirect, as in drivers or friends and family of drivers).

All These Fires Are Burning Through Firefighters’ Budgets Wired. Resilc: “They should say is2 started the fires.”

Drug-Plan Managers Wield ‘Potent Weapon’ Wall Street Journal. Um, given that Viagra is the focus of the story, the headline might be “impotence weapon”.

Deals challenge US inversions clampdown Financial Times

US media slump deepens with weak Viacom Financial Times

Harvard MBAs don’t want to go into banking anymore Business Insider

The Empiricist Strikes Back Katie Porter, Credit Slips. Wish I could cross post this.

Class Warfare

The Assault on America’s Unions Continues Counterpunch

Abercrombie to End On-Call Scheduling Wall Street Journal. I cannot say Eric Schneiderman never gets out of bed…

Airbnb abandons new “campaign” headquarters after owner revealed to be slum landlord Pando

Fired University of Akron painter spills the details of president’s $951,824 house remodel Akron Beacon Journal. Barbara B: “Evidently he needed a lot of space between himself and his mother-in-law.”

Schools as Punishing Factories: The Handcuffing of Public Education Truthout

Swedish Privatization of Education Fails Angry Bear (resilc). Important.

Inequality: reframing the debate, reforming institutions and rooting out rent-seeking Bank Underground. Today’s must read

Antidote du jour (Stephen L, from USFWS):

turtle_on_hand links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Nicholas Cole

    Even a passing mention of Sanders is glaringly absent from Greider’s piece. Are they afraid that if you speak his name you make him real?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Except for the f-35, maybe some big agr (Vermont has its problems), and still being in the Democratic caucus, Bernie is very close to the popularly perceived Democratic positions as anyone. Except for age and Bernie’s hair status, Bernie has no skeletons of any note. There is no Anita Hill fiasco (cough, Biden, cough), and more importantly, he isn’t a clown or mumbler on the stump. Painting Bernie as whacky has failed,

      The Washington elite are terrified by anyone who isn’t pro status quo because if everyone is a crook or benefits from a crooked system an outsider will be a potential target of a new administration. The elite need a candidate to save them from the little people, but the GOP is a clown show and dweebs and the Democrats are dominated by Hillary with everyone of note having significant problems (hawks, free trade, whatever Biden did this week, drug crusaders, renewing the Bush tax cuts).

      Hillary and Jeb could be counted on by the elite, and the new argument will be we just have to settle. The elite can’t tarnish Bernie because there is nothing to get him with that isn’t normal.

      1. Vince in MN

        Sanders has a paradoxical image problem. Being an independent, running as an Independent guarantees marginalization. Being an Independent, and running as a Democrat, destroys his credibility as a viable candidate (he’s not a Democrat), and this also guarantees marginalization.

        1. TedWa

          Democrats aren’t democrats anymore, both parties are 2 sides of the same bad coin. I see Bernie as the same as the democrats I grew up with. Democrats have abandoned their posts and I see no good reason why they should be using the name “Democrats” anymore. More like Democricans. Bernie is there to fill the void left by Democrats and therefore is more of a democratic candidate than any in recent history.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Bingo. Bernie already displaced the Democratic Party in Vermont as a Jew from New York City before the old hippie invasion. If there is one thing, Vermonters love it’s other Vermonters. It’s important to not underestimate his appeal and the dissatisfaction with Team Blue among Democratic voters who aren’t lapsed Democrats or local committee members.

            Obama wasn’t an astonishing orator who illuminated a dark world. He wasn’t Hillary and the Team Blue elite. We are still 8 additional years from Clinton nostalgia than we were in 2007/8.

    2. DJG

      And then Greider ends on, What’s love got to do with it? Which is the usual semioffical U.S. religious sentiment in action: Let’s talk about redemption. But democracy is not about redemption. Democracy is about getting things done and distributing power equitably. So I am not sure that Greider can last, given such a weak start.

      Nice to see kudos given to Naked Capitalism, but he should have noticed that at this blog, no one expects redemption to solve our economic / political problems.

      1. Brindle

        Greider goes almost sentimental on sixties types activism. He totally misses out on the depth and pervasiveness of the propaganda and hypnotizing/numbing aspect of today’s culture. The sixties cannot be re-created for today’s dilemma—I was there, I know a little bit about the dynamic.
        I like Greider. but his possible solution sounds naive to me—things don’t quite work that way.

        1. sufferinsuccotash

          If all the mind-numbing pervasive propaganda is so effective, then why are so many people pissed off?

          1. hunkerdown

            What’s important, to the status quo anyway, is that they’re not directing their ire at the perpetrators or any of the actual causes.

            “Let them protest all they want, as long as they pay their taxes.” -Alexander Haig

          2. neo-realist

            When they’re not on their selfie narcissism breaks on twitter, facebook, and instagram, they’re directing their ire at each other via these social networking sites rather than the power centers. Which is also why you won’t see a lot of them in the streets.

            And if they were in the streets en masse, the corporate media would pay little to no attention to them to make it seem to the average American that there is no significant opposition.

    3. Vince in MN

      Bernie needs a catchy campaign slogan. I suggest “A chicken in every pot”. The association with KFC’s colonel instantly improves name recognition, while secondarily, the reuse of the old Depression era slogan draws notice to the similarity of our modern predicament. He would be guaranteed to hoover up much needed attention. Obama was somewhat of an exception, but generally, liberals just don’t realize the usefulness of pitching snake oil to the masses.

    4. JohnnyGL

      I’m instinctively inclined to agree. There’s definitely an effort to airbrush him out of existence. Bloomberg politics section today didn’t have a single mention of him, I could barely find the video listed in the links section above.

      However, the Greider piece doesn’t mention anyone other than Clinton or Trump (including Bush or Rubio). I did a quick word search on the page.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The GOP field is just so awful. Even Dubya’s competition was John McCain and misfits. Dubya even ran on old Nixon hands are going to be here to boss me around, so he wouldn’t even have to be responsible. Now the Nixon hands are dead or have had the last vestiges of competence or decency stripped away, they can’t run on that again.

        Ben Carson? He writes a typical, angry news letter. Huckleberry is on his third trip. Kasich repeats the stats every governor can. Guys like Santorum disappeared between cycles. None of these guys has a career of pursuing villains. There are no mob prosecutions on their resumes. Trump is the most accomplished. Jeb was born to the blood and has no concept the electorate is angry which Rove understood. When Dubya didn’t understand a question, he could give a name to cover for him.

        Mittens would pulverize this field even now. I can understand not mentioning any Republican. Walker would be the missing name.

        1. neo-realist

          I tend to think that Jeb knows there’s anger out there, but he is so arrogantly wrapped up in his ideological belief in the legitimacy of policies that serve elites like himself that he doesn’t give a damn about the populist anger. He will frame those same 1% percent serving economic policies in populist terms in the general election to get over with the middle and southern parts of the country where Hillary w/ low popularity ratings will struggle.

      2. Joe Renter

        I can only stomach NPR for small bits at a time, but when listening in regards to Sanders there is nada. Imagine that. Really not sure how we are going to get out of this dog shit on shoe ground hog day scenario. It’s got to come out of right field. But then again if the markets crash in a manner that takes down the whole house of cards we might have a reset perhaps. Get the popcorn. Please share with you neighbors.

  2. abynormal

    re: abortion, meth, AL…(scratching head) “After much consideration and counsel, I … have decided that I no longer desire to pursue an abortion procedure and intend to carry the unborn child to full term and birth,” she said in an affidavit to the federal court. “I have arrived at this decision of my own volition and choosing … without any undue influence, duress or threat of harm.”

    “I used to be indecisive but now I am not quite sure.”

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      “The law makes it a felony to “knowingly, recklessly, or intentionally” expose a child to “a controlled substance, chemical substance, or drug paraphernalia” and carries exceptionally stiff penalties: one to 10 years in prison if a child suffers no ill effects, 10 to 20 years if a child is harmed, and 10 to 99 years if a child dies”.

      I wonder if Jane Doe knows that she’s already in this for one to 10 years, and if she miscarries she’s in for 10 to 99. It would really seem that her only way out is to get an abortion asap.

      Good on ya’, Alabama. Bunch of f*ckin’ “pro-life” geniuses. At least “they” can quit hating us for our “freedoms.”

    2. ambrit

      Yes that. This woman is in the lockup in Florence Alabama. That’s a serious influence in and of itself.
      What’s also raising red flags in my mind is the almost lawyerly vocabulary and construction of a supposedly “genuine” statement by an implied meth head. Indeed, her connection to the meth lab is vague at best. Did she help cook? Was she a user, dealer, mastermind, or merely a bystander?
      The Patriarchy is working overtime on this case.

      1. abynormal

        abynormal is excusably slow but i seem to remember something about ‘its not what they say but what they don’t’…

        “without any undue influence
        or threat of harm.”

        free get out of jail card
        free betty ford rehab
        free j.alba diapers

        1. ambrit

          Carrot and stick; a synergy of controls.
          Since the underlying purpose here is control and dominance, we must apply the Alchemists Creed: As above, so below.

  3. hemeantwell

    Re the Galbraith interview on Plan B: Although I myself wanted to see Syriza talking up the need to plan for an exit all along, assessments of the adequacy of the planning that did occur are now facing more constraints. Originally, as Galbraith puts it so vaguely, exit planning would have been “misconstrued” by… who? Certainly by

    – the 70% of the Greek population who might think they were being caught in a bait and switch,
    – the Troika, who would have loved to be able to trumpet the duplicity of the Greek bargaining team precisely in order to mobilize that 70%

    Hard to say how that would have played out. I haven’t given much cred to coup worries, but the ensuing turmoil would have maximized that possibility by offering the oligarchy a chance to characterize Syriza as dishonest and intent on taking Greece out of the euro and into the arms of Putin, thereby helping to revive the anachronistic anti-communist frame that was central to coup-making in 1967.

    And now currently we’ve got noises being made about prosecuting Varoufakis for state account hacking related to the planning. I don’t take the possibility of a conviction seriously — it’s just part of an ongoing slime job by the oligarchy — but my guess is that this sets up more reasons to cast the planning effort as sketchy. This, of course, sets up the possibility of charging them with incompetence.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      It’s not “charging them with incompetence”. They WERE incompetent. And that “Plan B” was no plan. Varoufakis has been out trying to rehabilitate his disastrous performance and found his effort to tart up what he did into something more than it ever was backfired on him.

      The California IOU plan was only to cover a short-term denial of access to bond funding. It was for the government to pay its bills. It was not for a new currency that would be acceptable to or used by parties outside Greece. Thus it could solve at most ONLY one problem, that of the government making payments like pensions and wages. Moreover, in California, which is an A- issuer (versus the Greek government, a junk issuer) still had to pay 3.75% interest and even then, its IOUs traded at 70 to 85 cents on the dollar. How happy would Greek civil servants have been to have their wages cut like that? Or pensioners to find that they were being shortchanged?

      And the hacking the tax authority notion and distributing PINs by e-mail was utterly daft. You want to guarantee massive fraud? Issuing PINs via an insecure channel is the way to do it.

      Moreover, how would you distribute these IOUs? It raises the same IT issues we’ve discussed earlier. Sure, you could electronically credit tax accounts, so people who owe taxes are left with more money to spend. But only 30% of the Greek individuals pay taxes. That’s one of the reasons they are in the mess they are in. Any amount over and above the balance due in tax accounts has to be distributed….pray tell how that happens?

      The parallel currency would not be accepted by exporters to Greece and could not be issued in anything remotely approaching the volumes necessary to recapitalize banks.

    2. flora

      The thing is, Syriza and YV appeared to me to approach the Troika negotiations as if they were engaging in academic politics – which can be vicious but inconsequential beyond personal reputation. (Academic politics is its own specialization.) These negotiations were not academic. This was not a test case to prove the rightness of some academic theory or to pad a CV. YV appeared never to realize that. That’s how it looked to me. I may be quite wrong.

      1. flora

        from the article
        Galbraith: As finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis gave everything he had for five months to the cause of achieving a compromise that would permit some hope for economic stabilization in Greece and recovery from the extreme debacle of the past five years. It is very disappointing that there was, in fact, no flexibility in the position of the creditors.
        My take is that YV took academic politics to a real politik situation. (“Took a latte to a gunfight”.) Even after warnings showed academic politics were failing YV did not change course and start negotiating from a real politik standpoint. The failure to correctly assess the situation initially is forgivable. The failure to adjust course as required after engagement is incompetence of the first order. The Greek people are paying a high price for this tyro mistake.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


      Then I ask myself why it’s beautiful.

      It’s color? Yes.

      It’s life-force? Of course.

      But most of all, for this fellow here, the striking feature is its smallness.

      Small is beautiful.

      “Smaller and wiser humans.”

      “Small but powerful, and caring and just government.”

      1. JEHR

        That turtle is such a example of perfection even in its smallness–every little organ and muscle is there as beautiful as nature can make them. When the forests here are clear cut, I wonder about all the birds whose nests, with and without eggs, have been destroyed and all the small creatures who will die because they no longer have a forest to live in. Even when a small clearing is cut on which to put a house, all the homes of “small” creatures are destroyed in order to do so.

        1. abynormal

          “Wisdom demands a new orientation of science and technology toward the organic, the gentle, the elegant and beautiful.”…Like You JEHR, thanks

  4. diptherio

    Is that tiny turtle wearing a tiny necklace? Or maybe it’s a tiny harmonica on one of them hands-free holders like the hillbillies use…

    1. abynormal

      gps collar? handler needs to gently put down the micro turtle and run. those mercenary $ecurity guard$ are high dollar .

        1. susan the other

          We need to start a black ops program to recruit the best sharpshooters of the trophy hunters, pay them lavishly to kill the rest of the trophy hunters and protect them from prosecution. In addition to their under-the-table payments the killers will be allowed to cut off the heads of their prey and send them to a CIA-approved taxidermist to mount them for interior decorating.

          1. ambrit

            Careful there STO. You are getting close to advocating a policy that would actually work. (The State is very jealous of it’s “exclusive” right to use violence to further social and political aims.)
            Why not call this type of “targeted coercion” White Ops? (Not to be confused with the present North American Security Services methodology.)

    2. Chris in Paris

      As the child of a ‘hillbilly’, I’d like to point out that Bob Dylan and Neil Young also use harp racks while they’re playing guitars…

      1. diptherio

        They’re just wannabe hillbillies (and fwiw, hillbillies, red-necks, hicks and bumpkins of all varieties tend to be my favorite people to hang out with, having descended from that stock, and counting myself among them).

        Someday I’ll learn to play harmonica on a rack and hambone at the same time. That’s actually one of my goals in life, no bs.

    3. craazyman

      How do you know the turtle is tiny?

      The hands might be huge. I’ve heard of giants that lived in the Biblical days and in pre-Columban America, some 10 or 12 feet tall or more even. I’ve also heard of 30 foot humanoids seen by hikers, or at least one hiker whose testimony I read on the internet as a 2nd hand (no pun intended) report, in the Scottish Highlands. Of all places! You wouldn’t be surprised if it was someplace in Siberia or Canadian’s northern territories, but the Scottish Highlands? I mean really. What was a 30 foot humanoid doing there? Hiking I guess.

      This could be a photo that proves the reality of these so-called fables. You learn something new every day around here. It could be 10-bagger time coming up soon. It’s been long enough, I think. Time to get rich quick. Time for a 10-bagger as big as those hands. No foolin.

  5. financial matters

    Jeremy Gilbert emphasizes the point that neoliberalism is extreme capitalism (disaster capitalism, shock doctrine) but that capitalism itself is very difficult to control.

    ” So far example, ‘social democracy’ doesn’t just want a different type of capitalism to the neoliberals – it wants a society in which large chunks of social life are decidedly non-capitalist in nature, and capitalism is kept in its proper place as an engine of economic growth, but is not allowed to dictate values and norms across the whole of culture and society.This is all very well until you start asking what those governments are going to do when capitalists want to control bits of the economy, and accumulate capital there, that the public don’t think they should be allowed to accumulate capital from. Social democrats tend to think you can just sort all this out one way or another without anyone getting too upset.

    Marxists tend to think that this is a naive view – that if you don’t abolish capitalism sooner or later, or at least have governments who are constantly alert to the tendency of capitalists to do everything in their power to evade regulation and accumulate power and wealth at the expense of others, then capitalism will break loose from its social-democratic chains and burn your welfare institutions down. Look at the world since 1980 and you can see that they are obviously, basically, correct. This is why I’ve tended to argue that even if you want to be a moderate social democrat by the standards of, say, the 1960s, you have to take a view of things which is tendentially ‘anti-capitalist’ or you are just going to end up completely outmanoeuvred by capitalists.”


    1. susan the other

      A town in Denmark (forgetwhereIread this, prolly here on NC) has voted to pay an 80% income tax to cover all necessities from health care to subsidized food and rent/own, education and etc. The other 20% will be left to discretionary spending. The article said everyone was happy with the relationship. That doesn’t answer the question of what to do about greedy capitalists – but if there is only legally 20% of an economy, max, that can go to them they could be ring-fenced.

      1. Robert Dudek

        I would be thrilled to have 20% of my income left over after paying for all my necessities.

  6. Brindle

    Conventional beltway analysis has Trump losing the debate. I checked half a dozen online post debate polls and Trump was the winner in every one by generally a 2-1 margin over his closest rival–usually Ben Carson. Perhaps Trump has hired a “bot” contractor to vote in these polls—more likely is the MSM doesn’t quite get that Trump’s support is not related to content, it’s related to his style and presentation. Trump rails against political correctness—for his target audience that is a very smart move on his part.
    I enjoy that Trump is making a mockery of the GOP campaign—I’ll be stocking up on popcorn.

    1. Llewelyn Moss

      I’ll be stocking up the Bug Out Shelter. ‘Merican voters may be just dumb enuff to elect this clown.

      I met my brother at a Fish and Game Club for a drink this week. They were passing out Trump bumper stickers to the gun nutters at the bar. Everyone wanted one. There is a hard core base that is deadly serious about this idiot.

    2. fresno dan

      I actually watched 3/4 of the republican debate. And Trump did get booed for not committing to that journalist cliche of the hand raising question “Will any of you not commit to supporting the republican nominee?”
      Trump wouldn’t (to supporting the republican nominee). It was refreshing, and it was refreshing his swatting down of the “journalist” trying to restate the question several times for emphasis. One would have thought that Trump was stating that he was a Muslim born in Africa….

      Trump brought refreshing honesty about campaign donations – I just wish he had stated it in a more serious manner and say that it buys access, while others don’t have acess, and access is a euphemism for getting what your asking for.

      And as for Megyn Kelly’s tough question about Trump’s sexism – that would be fine, except FOX commentators like Hannity and O’Reily spew demagogic crap (remember the young lady who wanted birth control covered in the ACA) so much, that FOX is in the realm of metaphysical hypocrisy to bitch about anyone being a misogynist. But what I think it mostly does is expose FOX as not being a disinterested “conservative” network, but simply a partisan advocate of the republican party – and therefore it has to go after Trump. It is just more of the mindless rah rah of team red/team blue in which reality is constantly twisted to advance an agenda.

      Fox interlocutors did bring up a number of times the difference between “conservative principals” and the reality of what a candidate had done. Which is interesting that they are actually so informed about some issues – and makes their pandering to anti Obama rhetoric, even when he out republicans republicans, all the more outrageous.

      I think Trump, like Cruz, will force republicans to deal with the rhetoric of extreme right wing views. Republicans won’t like it, but at some point those people have to understand that they’re social security checks come from….gasp!!!!….the gubermint!!!!!!!

      1. craazyboy

        Personally, I think that any reporter that begins a “GOP Debate” with a pledge of allegiance to the GOP, should first be fired, and then investigated for any Caymen Island bank accounts showing recent activity.

        The thing that boggled my mind over the Trump “campaign contribution” flack was that it was initiated by Rand Paul – whom a few weeks ago announced his “flat tax”‘ plan. The major beneficiary of flat taxes being people of Trump’s socio-economic-political “class”. I’m flabbergasted.

    3. cnchal

      I enjoy that Trump is tilting the playing field of the election. Everybody is off balance now.

      Trump looks like he is having a blast. He doesn’t need to kiss anybody’s ass to raise money, so in the twisted world of politics he is the only non corruptible candidate.

      The rest of the Republicans are so uninspiring, so obviously corrupt, that all of them should be in Lambert’s clown car. Jebbie and his foot in mouth disease. Scott Walker, bought and paid for by the Kochs, Chris Christie, Carly Fiorini, the list goes on, right to the last one.

      Everybody likes to poke fun at The Donald, myself included, but in the harsh light of a presidential campaign he is as politically incorrect as possible and threatens to upset a lot of cherished apple carts.

      In business, have you ever heard of Trump stiffing suppliers? No. He makes a business deal and sticks to it, and the only suppliers that he put through the wringer were the banks.

      Imagine if Trump became president, on the first day on the job, he could call in the military brass and tell them “you’re fired”. The next day he could do the same to another group of parasites.

      My popcorn is ready.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        Frankly I’d rather see Trump as POTUS than Jeb!™ or even Hillary. Breaking the iron hold on power of the status quo party machines will be a necessary prerequisite to anything good being accomplished going forward, and Hillary would just be another ‘more effective evil’ in office in precisely the same way that Obama has been. Democrats only oppose right wing policy when they are (or can plausibly claim to be) helpless to fight it; once they are in a position to actually implement progressive policy, they never do or will.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I could imagine Trump going after every business person who didn’t treat him with the admiration Trump believes he deserves.

        2. James Levy

          Yes, a war with Iran, nuclear tension and blustering with Russia and China, authoritarianism run rampant–just terrific! Trump is a reactionary loon. He IS the oligarchy we bitch about around here. He’s not funny. He’s not cute. He’s not breaking any molds or tipping any apple carts. He’s in it for himself and people like himself, period. He makes Hillary look objective and disinterested. He’s a vicious, vindictive twit and a bankrupt who thinks that life is all about fucking over people to make money.

          1. jrs

            I can’t see preferring Trump to Clinton, but I can see one saying they are both about equally likely to be bad. Nuclear tension with Russia and China will definitely be on Clinton’s agenda. And making money is what the Clinton’s know how to do, none of it honest.

      2. Llewelyn Moss

        “Imagine if Trump became president, on the first day on the job, he could call in the military brass and tell them “you’re fired”. The next day he could do the same to another group of parasites.”

        Yes, that’s exactly the ‘Sirens sound’ Trump is trying to singing to lure the commoners into the rocks.

        1. Brindle

          “Sirens sound”—sure but I doubt Trump would be a worse president than Bush or Kasich or any of the other GOP. A Trump presidency would probably be not much different than a Hillary one—main difference being style and tone.

          1. Llewelyn Moss

            I agree, everyone you mention will further rig the system in favor of the 1%. But Trump is a full frontal wackjob who might start a war over something another world leader says — North Korea comes to mind.

            1. jrs

              Our presidents being potential nutjobs perhaps makes about as much sense as the foreign leader nutjob du jour they are always trying to sell us. “Yes, yes but the opposition is insane!” Yes very old trick. That’s what they said about Goldwater, LBJ was no better in terms of warmongering.

              So I don’t really know if any of these “insane candidates” exist, anymore than a rotating foreign leader that is said to be insane does as any more than a pretext for war. What I am sure is that horrible and horrific policy continues regardless of who wins.

      3. Vatch

        “In business, have you ever heard of Trump stiffing suppliers? No. He makes a business deal and sticks to it, and the only suppliers that he put through the wringer were the banks.”

        Are you sure? His companies have had 4 bankruptcies that I know of. Typically in a bankruptcy, the bankrupt company’s creditors lose money. Have his suppliers been exempt from haircuts? I rather doubt it, but it’s possible. If so, I would love to see some documentation. Here’s a short article about his company bankruptcies:

        1. cnchal

          . . . Typically in a bankruptcy, the bankrupt company’s creditors lose money.

          . . . After financing much of the construction of the casino with junk bonds, the luxe facility was in debt, and so was he. (Exactly how much is up for debate; the Times pegged his personal liabilities at $900 million.) In order to escape potential doom, Trump’s corporation filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which allowed him to reorganize the debt while the casino remained open. The real-estate tycoon ended up taking a substantial hit this time, as he was forced to relinquish half his stake in the casino and sell his yacht and airline to pay back loans.


          . . . This time it was the Trump Plaza Hotel that was hemorrhaging cash, having lost over $550 million. Ever the negotiator, the entrepreneur agreed to give up a 49 percent stake in the hotel to Citibank and other lenders, according to ABC News. In exchange, he received more favorable repayment terms on the debt.


          . . . Just over a decade later, a Trump corporation was filing for Chapter 11 yet again. With the company nearly $1.8 billion dollars in debt, the businessman was back to making deals, this time agreeing to reduce his stake in the company to about 25 percent in exchange for lower interest rates and a new loan, the Associated Press reported at the time. The move meant that Trump surrendered much of his control in the company, but considering what had been going on under his watch, that was probably a good thing. (Time magazine claims Trump was also forced to pump $72 million of his own money into the company to keep it going.)


          In his most recent dalliance with bankruptcy, Trump’s company declared Chapter 11 after missing a $53.1 million bond interest payment. Trump and the rest of the board of directors could not reach an agreement over whether or not to file for bankruptcy, resulting in his resignation as head of the board, Reuters reported at the time. The move also saw his stake in the company reduced even further on what Trump called a now “worthless” investment that he assured was less than a percent of his net worth.

          The hotels got built with a ton of debt, and operated for years before bankruptcy and the suppliers were paid. The banksters took on the chin and groin.

          I like The Donald even more. Thanks for the link.

          1. Katniss Everdeen

            I don’t know who all Donald’s creditors were, but I see Citibank mentioned.

            Having been made to pay the piper himself, I wonder how quick President Trump would be to bail out the “too big to fails” when they inevitably come back to the taxpayer well for more of that “you-know-you-can’t-live-without-us” money.

            And I suspect he might not get all wobbly in the knees when the likes of hank paulson starts blowing his “tanks in the streets” smoke.

            Not to mention letting goldman sachs come under taxpayer protection overnight, or letting jamie dimon and lloyd blankfein walk away without even so much as a nickel out of their bonuses. Something tells me he might call bullsh*t on the “you have to pay us our bonuses because we’re the only ones who can fix this mess we made” argument.

            I’m with you, cnchal. The more I think about it, the more I like the Donald. He knows how to take his medicine, and I suspect he knows how to make the other over-indulged crybabies take theirs.

            How many times have we heard that debts that can’t be paid back, won’t be? It’s about time someone who gets that was running the show.

        2. fresno dan

          I would refer you to this article in today’s links:
          Donald Trump Speaks the Truth Adam Levitin, Credit Slips

          It very much reminds me when a big bank (I don’t know if it was Wells Fargo) let one of their properties be foreclosed upon, because it was good business.

          But having a real discussion about how often businesses declare bankruptcy, and whether this is a good policy or not, and who actually supported such laws is not in the interest of politicians of either party, or particularly the media, which after all is in the entertainment business. (who that is knowledgeable about all the breaks given to business can say with a straight face that democrats, after Bob Rubin, Larry Summers, and Timmy Geithner give less to business than republicans – maybe you could make the argument that the dems favor finance even MORE than republicans…)

          Trump is perilously close to exposing that the only difference between the democratic nominee and the republican nominee is the color of the satchel (red or blue) the payoff money is delivered in.

          The people may be wrong, and Trump may be appealing to the worst instincts of people. But he seems to understand that things were not so rosy in either of the previous Bush dynasties, and that the policies of the dems and repubs merely funnel more and more of the wealth of the country to fewer and fewer. Most people understand, despite the pervasive partisan hackery, that the ninties were not heaven on earth for most people, and that there never was a Bush recovery in the oughts. The fact that partisans make such claims, shows the ….dare I say it??? – the bankruptcy of modern politics.

      4. Yves Smith Post author

        Trump never spends his own money. And many media sources have previously written, he is no where near as rich as he pretends to be. He’s regularly exaggerated his net worth by 5 to 10 times. He most assuredly will need to do real fundraising and real organization building. and I don’t seem him willing to do either (as in make nice to donors).

        1. Lexington

          The thing about Trump is that he’s not a very good businessman, but he has a genius for self promotion. And in America’s celebrity obsessed culture that will often take you much further than mere ability.

          1. JTMcPhee

            P.T. Barnum — not much of a business success either, but a helluva good self-promoter.

            Query: re Susan’s 2:45 post, would The Donald be considered a “trophy hunter,” for all those females he’s bagged? Though those deals seem to have a lot of symbiosis and mutualism about them…

  7. Vatch

    What Would Happen If the U.S. Defunded Planned Parenthood? Pacific Standard

    People who sincerely oppose abortion should be the most enthusiastic supporters of convenient access to low price contraception. Preventing unwanted pregnancies is the best way to prevent abortions. Sure, abstinence is an option; how well has that worked for Bristol Palin?

    1. PQS

      Of course. But they don’t, because they are essentially the Sex Police. The want to control women, their sexuality, and what they do with their bodies. At the end of the day, that’s where their policies and beliefs lead. Why are so many evangelicals and other religious types wound up about abortion? Because they essentially can’t take modernity or sexual freedom.

      Add in their terrible hypocrisy about the death penalty, and it is a small, fanatical group that gets behind this stuff. Then they wonder why nobody supports them when they present BS like their “blockbuster videos”. News flash: because Real Americans (both men and women!) have sex, make mistakes, and want to go on with their lives rather than be saddled with 12 kids like the Duggars.

    2. dandelion

      We’ve reset structural unemployment to a new high. We won’t create enough jobs for everyone. In heterosexual coupling, forced pregnancy pushes women out of the workforce.

    3. oliverks

      Instead of calling people pro life, they should be called pro birth. They don’t care about the life after it is born. (BTW that’s not true for all pro life, but it seems to be true for most politicians who claim to be pro life).

      They should be known as the pro birth antilifers

  8. fresno dan

    “Yet Hammond’s killing, under cloudy circumstances — a police report never mentions the fatal gunshots — has not sparked national protests.”

    As shooting unarmed people is as noteworthy as wearing pants, why would the police mention it?

  9. vidimi

    cosmopolitan family travelling across the world in a van with the words “iran is great” written on it have their property vandalised by london police

    At 1pm on Monday, a family van parked outside the Science Museum in central London. Within two hours, as the family of four including eight-year-old Lucas and his younger sister Emilea returned from the nearby Natural History Museum, they found their windows had been smashed.

    1. windsock

      It was pretty stupid on behalf of the Met, especially not to have left information about what had happened. I wonder what would have happened had the same van with the same words been left parked and unattended outside the Smithsonian in Washington?

      On the other hand, to travel the world and not be aware of other cultures’ sensibilities is also a bit reckless, a bit like me going to Iran to snog another man in Tehran.

  10. DJG

    Interesting article about languages and DLM. The hypothesis explains why English evolved away from the Germanic model (SOV with V2) toward SVO. Ironically, English and Italian often use almost exactly the same word order. Economy of expression is valued. So English may have picked up SVO from the Norman French, although French word order is a bit less economical than either English or Italian. I guess there was a benefit to 1066.

    The article doesn’t go into DLM and evolution of tone. No tonal language is mentioned, except for Japanese, which has minimal use of tone, something like Swedish. But does tone in Thai or Chinese have the same effect on economy of meaning that word order does?

    1. Kurt Sperry

      I take exception to the following:

      (No well-documented languages start sentences or clauses with the object, although some linguists have jokingly suggested that Klingon might do so.)

      Italian does this very thing frequently although the subject in Italian (like Spanish) is usually folded into the verb as the conjugation of the verb also gives or implies the subject pronoun. Lo non credo.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Also Yorda. He puts objects first.

        “Big banks…we must not fail.”

        “Small guys…we charge more.”

        “The empire…we fight.”

      2. susan the other

        German commonly does this too, and easily since they decline their nouns into cases, along with their article. So you can start a sentence with “Dem Volk…” and know it will be understood as “to the people.” And Latin grammar does this as well. To the victor go the spoils. German grammar seems to be almost an exact replica of latin grammar.

        1. Propertius

          It’s a pretty typical construction for Indo-European languages that haven’t lost their case structure. Ancient Greek, Sanskrit, Latin all do this. I don’t know about Hittite – it probably does as well, since it has a very rich case structure (9 cases, including cases such as the instrumental, allative, and ergative that are “folded into” other cases in later Indo-European languages).

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      SVO vs. SOV.

      SVO example: He hits you.

      The SVO speaker hits first, then becomes aware of whom he hit.

      SOV example: He you hits.

      The SOV speaker, in this case, identifies the target, before he acts (the action here = hitting).

      This we can conclude – an SVO speaker acts, and then asks questions later; whereas an SOV speaker observes first and then acts.

      “He makes money first, then asks questions later.”

      “She loots first, then asks questions later.”

      1. ewmayer

        Using your example to illustrate, German actually uses both SVO and SOV, typically depending on the tense:

        Present: Er schlägt Dich [He hits you]

        Past: Er hat Dich geschlagen [He has you hit]

        Future: Er wird Dich schlagen [He will you hit]

    3. Oregoncharles

      Written English is VERY compressed; if you look at an assortment of translations of a text, English is almost always the shortest. (May not apply to speech.) I haven’t tried to analyze the reasons; might have to do with the huge vocabulary. Now I wonder how it compares with Italian.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        Since you asked… I just took a copy of Dante’s Inferno with Italian on the verso and English on the recto down from the shelf to see, and the Italian is almost invariably shorter, sometimes considerably so. Italian, as I mentioned above, often omits the subject pronoun and relies less on auxiliary verbs to construct tenses, often using the simple tenses where we would use a compound tense even using the simple present for the future or past and letting the context explain. For example, “I was talking” is simply “parlavo” in Italian, or for “tomorrow I will be driving to Rome” can be “domani guido a Roma” which is simple present indicative because domani/tomorrow tells you the action will be in the future. You can’t do that in English–and be correct.

        1. craazyboy

          Now you got me curious. I’m still not sure about my first language, but don’t these work?

          Tomorrow I drive to Rome.
          I drive to Rome tomorrow.

          1. Robert Dudek

            Not sure if that is grammatically correct. Future Intentionality is usually conveyed by “I am driving to Rome tomorrow”.

            1. Optimader

              “Tomarrow i drive to Rome. Sunday i drive to Arrezzo…” And so forth

              Sounds good to me

            2. Kurt Sperry

              It’s fine in colloquial speech, just as omitting pronouns in English can be, but it’s never formally correct.

    4. micky9finger

      Also inflected languages.
      In Russian word order is left to nuance and colloquial usage as the part of speech is noted by the declination, eg. Imperative, objective, subjective,etc. You can actually say: store went he. If you say it right it makes sense.
      German is inflected too but not as much.
      Word order probably matters more.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      We use to have one. No, term limits. The benefits of incumbency meant a President was a lower who would be tossed or would stay until he couldn’t.

      Why be merely rich when you can be President? I know the propaganda goes on about how our enemies have vast offshore accounts such as the $150 billion quoted for Putin. He lives in Tsar palaces, has armies, groupies, gets invited to all the best parties, and so forth. Do you think he cares about money? He’ll be President until he’s infirm in some capacity. Finally, do you think he will ever have to spend money again?

      Let’s give our Presidents an incentive to do a good job.

    1. Jim Haygood

      It’s August 7th. Where is your KongressKlown?

      Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., the minority whip in the U.S. House of Representatives, called JTA from Israel, where he is visiting for the 14th time. Hoyer is leading a tour of 21 freshmen [Democratic] House members, sponsored by an affiliate of AIPAC.

      Hoyer did not sugarcoat the differences. “The leaders of our two nations, Netanyahu and President Obama, have a very strong disagreement publicly aired on both sides,” he said.

      In no other country on earth does a president have to ignominiously mud-wrestle with a foreign leader for the support of his own legislature (about 12% of whom are visiting Israel this month to hear Netanyahu’s harangue against their own president).

      America the PWNed.

      She kept saying
      “I’ve never really done this kind of thing before, have you”
      He said, “Yes I have
      But only a time or two”
      Third rate romance
      Low rent rendezvous

      — Sammy Kershaw

      1. fresno dan

        Of the 51 United States, Israel is obviously the one Mom loves best…
        Seriously, does any other state get such near unanimous BIPARTISAN accolades???? Does any other state get such universal approval for Federal aid???

  11. Ulysses

    Thanks so much for the excellent linked piece by Henry Giroux. This notion, that we can bully and oppress poor and disabled children to ensure the “safety” of our larger society, is far too common in our increasingly authoritarian world.

    “The rise of the punishing and police state depends on conformity, the squelching of dissent and the closing down of any institution capable of educating the young and old to hold authority accountable. More specifically, pedagogies of oppression are a central tool for dismantling critical learning and dissent and for increasing the power of the punishing state. Under the reign of neoliberalism, all things public are under attack, from schools to health care to public servants. The war on youth and public schools is part of the larger assault on democracy itself. The controlling elite view schools as dangerous to their interests. For the financial elite, right-wing ideologues and billionaires such as the Walton family, the Koch brothers and Bill Gates, public education must be defunded, broken and privatized because it contains the potential to educate young people to question authority and hold it accountable, and produce civically literate and socially engaged students and critically engaged citizens.”

    Small wonder that an authoritarian goon like Chris Christie is excited by the idea of punching teachers in the face! We are living in the shadow of the strong possibility a very ugly future, one that we must struggle against with all our might.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      the potential to educate young people to question authority and hold it accountable, and produce civically literate and socially engaged students and critically engaged citizens.”

      They worry too much.

      The system ignores that potential.

      Look at China, Japan, Germany, Holland, or any country – anyone is holding their government, their authority accountable?

    2. gf

      One of the most depressing articles i have read in a long long time.
      There have been a lot to choose from .

      We are fucked.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Also, Greece could use a often-divorced leader…someone who has divorced at least 4 times in the last 24 years, as the nation seeks a divorce from the Eurozone.

  12. Jeff N (in Chicago)

    I tell everybody who visits NYC to go to the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, and the Museum of the Moving Image :)

  13. craazyboy

    Megyn Kelly is hot. I shoulda watched the debates on tv, but they were over by the time I remembered what time they were on. Now I have to read about them while looking at Megyn’s pic in a separate browser so I can stay awake. Oh well.

    PS: Why does Megyn spell her name like that? Is that short for something??

      1. craazyboy

        And wanted her to grow up and be a Fox News anchor. Sometimes immigrants are smarter than we give them credit for.

  14. Dan Lynch

    Not impressed with your “must read” article on inequality.

    “because inequality of outcome is of second-order economic importance compared to improving absolute living standards.”

    This is dead wrong. Beyond a certain subsistence standard of living, social health does not correlate to absolute living standards. Instead, social health correlates to how equal a society is. Richard Wilkerson has hammered on this point.

    Re: rent seeking. That’s a separate issue. As Wilkerson has pointed out, it doesn’t seem to matter how countries reduce inequality, whether it is by redistrubution and social spending or whether it is by “predistribution.” The only thing that matters is inequality. Without redistribution, Finland would be just as unequal as the U.S..

    As for the political challenges of addressing inequality, again that’s a whole ‘nuther issue, and the author’s proposal to “buy out” monopolists is lame. First, you have to have a government that WANTS to reduce inequality. We have no such government.

    The choice of this “must read” article, along with the constant plugging of “be very afraid of leaving the Euro” articles, suggests that Naked Capitalism is becoming increasingly conservative. Conservatism, at its heart, is driven by fear.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Even democrats fear fear.

      Except brave democrats. What makes them different is they have only one fear – they fear only fear.

    2. cnchal

      Not impressed with your “must read” article on inequality.

      When one considers the source, it can glean insight into the, for want of a better description, the mentality of the people involved. This is insiders having a discussion, and we have a voyeuristic vantage point.

      Bank Underground is a blog for Bank of England staff to share views that challenge – or support – prevailing policy orthodoxies.

      One of my bones to pick with the article was the invocation of Keynes’ economic problem.

      At the heart of rising living standards is growth, in particular technological innovation, which allows novel and more efficient combinations of factor inputs to increase the productive capacity of an economy. In the short run, technological progress tends to be associated with ‘technological unemployment’, by favouring skilled over unskilled labour. “But this is only a temporary phase of maladjustment. All this means in the long run is that mankind is solving its economic problem”, as Keynes notes in Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren (1930). Few people today would lament the demise of blacksmiths in the early 20th century.

      I think the author misleads us with the skilled versus unskilled labor phrase. Technical advances in manufacturing put many skilled people out work, where all of a sudden your particular skill was no longer required. I am sure toolmakers in the early twentieth century were freaked out by jig borers. That machine alone improved productivity exponentially.

      From Keynes

      Yet there is no country and no people, I think, who can look forward to the age of leisure and of abundance without a dread. For we have been trained too long to strive and not to enjoy. It is a fearful problem for the ordinary person, with no special talents, to occupy himself, especially if he no longer has roots in the soil or in custom or in the beloved conventions of a traditional society. To judge from the behaviour and the achievements of the wealthy classes today in any quarter of the world, the outlook is very depressing! For these are, so to speak, our advance guard – those who are spying out the promised land for the rest of us and pitching their camp there. For they have most of them failed disastrously, so it seems to me – those who have an independent income but no associations or duties or ties – to solve the problem which has been set them.

      I feel sure that with a little more experience we shall use the new-found bounty of nature quite differently from the way in which the rich use it today, and will map out for ourselves a plan of life quite otherwise than theirs.
      For many ages to come the old Adam will be so strong in us that everybody will need to do some work if he is to be contented. We shall do more things for ourselves than is usual with the rich today, only too glad to have small duties and tasks and routines. But beyond this, we shall endeavour to spread the bread thin on the butter – to make what work there is still to be done to be as widely shared as possible. Three-hour shifts or a fifteen-hour week may put off the problem for a great while. For three hours a day is quite enough to satisfy the old Adam in most of us!

      There are changes in other spheres too which we must expect to come. When the accumulation of wealth is no longer of high social importance, there will be great changes in the code of morals. We shall be able to rid ourselves of many of the pseudo-moral principles which have hag-ridden us for two hundred years, by which we have exalted some of the most distasteful of human qualities into the position of the highest virtues. We shall be able to afford to dare to assess the money-motive at its true value. The love of money as a possession – as distinguished from the love of money as a means to the enjoyments and realities of life – will be recognised for what it is, a somewhat disgusting morbidity, one of those semi-criminal, semi-pathological propensities which one hands over with a shudder to the specialists in mental disease. All kinds of social customs and economic practices, affecting the distribution of wealth and of economic rewards and penalties, which we now maintain at all costs, however distasteful and unjust they may be in themselves, because they are tremendously useful in promoting the accumulation of capital, we shall then be free, at last, to discard.

      How close are we to the point where the accumulation of wealth is considered a mental disease? As far as you can get.

      Technological unemployment is a permanent problem, and we are getting further away from solving Keynes’ economic problem.

      As for other aspects of the article, regarding rent seeking, it is very ingrained and most people don’t recognize it, especially those employed by rent seeking entities. As money printers extraordinaire, central banks are the ultimate rent seekers.

  15. Mbuna

    Re:Inequality, framing the debate…
    I have a big problem with this article because it really misses the big picture altogether. On the one hand it’s view is technically correct but what it suggests will never, ever work except in someones mind. This piece completely fails to take into account the actual social, political, and cultural realities of the present moment in time. I would say this article demonstrates 20th century thinking-presuming a separation between government and the corporate/institutional world that in reality no longer exists. This can certainly change over time but it’s not going to happen anytime soon.

    1. barrisj

      Joseph Stiglitz’s “The Price of Inequality” has an entire chapter devoted to rent-seeking, and in fact one may argue that the major thrust of his arguments in “Inequality” concerns the economic distortions and dislocations precipitated by rentier practices. The author of the “Bank Underground” piece does reference rent-seeking discussed in “Inequality” , but – not surprisingly – does not do justice to Stiglitz’s treatment of causes and possible solutions to this pernicious evil of “late capitalism” in her article, and the reader is better served in going to the source itself.

    1. craazyboy

      I think he cuts Trump a little too much slack. IIRC, the 4 biz bankruptcies involved bondholders, not only bank loans, which any large biz with access to bond markets would try and minimize.

      Then Levitin goes on with some more hand waving saying there was no evidence of bad management running the companies into bankruptcy. While that can certainly happen anywhere – there are risks in biz that come along that can be out of managements control – the other way it happens is the biz plan was flawed from the start. And it’s not too hard to image in the casino biz a billion dollar white elephant not generating cash in line with some big, fat rosy(no pun intended. well ok, I did.) revenue projections.

      1. Peter Pan

        I generally agree with Levitin on bankruptcy. However, my experience in talking with Republicans is that bankruptcy is a morals issue. So Republicans may view Trump’s bankruptcies as some kind moral flaw in his personality.

        1. optimader

          However, my experience in talking with Republicans is that bankruptcy is a morals issue

          No doubt that is the case, but only for those that haven’t use bankruptcy chapters to their own advantage..

      2. optimader

        I think Trump strategy has always been heavily leverage OPM. Anyone that gets in financial bed with one of his deals is presumably a sophisticated investor that should be prepared for a 100% haircut.

        On this issue, an fainting Republicans should have been desensitized by GWB egregious record of commercial excellence.

        On the notion that no one has ever “been stiffed” (not been made whole) doing business with Trump( once removed by his commercial entities) seems a rather dubious claim. Generally speaking, I think everyone owed money in a bankruptcy get a haircut (except maybe when losses are backstopped by the USG of course!).

        That said, it is what it is. This is not so much a concern to me about Trump as POTUS. Teasing out who he really is from the bombastic public presentation should be interesting as this election cycle train wreck winds out..

        1. craazyboy

          I’ve been sorta wondering (not spending a whole lotta time and effort on it) if we will ever find out who the “real” Donald is. Is he the A-hole tyrant on “You’re Fired”? Is he the brilliant biz man, turning OPM into fountains of wealth rewarding his investors, and leaving a few extra billion in Trump’s wallet? Will he still fight with Rosie from the Oval Office? Does he have a serious, competent side, like Perot showed glimmers of, but his temperament doesn’t seem quite right for POTUS? Or maybe is he just a ginormous ego-maniac that thinks of himself as a Brand – and will erect a huge neon sign on the Whitehouse lawn, blinking TRUMP on and off?

          Too soon to tell. We can only stay tuned.

  16. Peter Pan

    Regarding the Russian hack of Pentagon emails. I went to visit my mother last night.

    We watched ABC nightly news and they offered an explanation that it was either Russian or Chinese hackers. Furthermore, they used a “sophisticated” hacking attack known as a an email phishing scam.

    I howled with laughter. I told my mother that in about 4 months it’ll probably be revealed as USA hackers and that there is nothing that “sophisticated” about an email phishing scam.

  17. Dan

    Interesting that the post on the neocon mindset should have originated at The National Interest, the birthplace and longtime champion of that very mindset…

  18. Mike

    I give up. Despite repeated searches I cannot figure out who “resilc” is. He, she, or it seems to have some great stuff; I would like to follow.

    Help please.



  19. ewmayer

    Re. “The Seventh-Largest Economy in the World Spirals Down” (Brazil): Just in time for next year’s “Summer of Sewage” Olympics! It looks like hosting the Olympics may well do for (or better, to) Brazil what it did for (to) Greece. Much like any proverbial bagholder, it looks like Brazil picked the approximate peak – at least the ‘first peak’ in 2007-2008, just before the SHTF in form of the GFC – of its oil-price-and-credit-based bubble to have its coming-out party by way of submitting its bid to host the 2016 Olympics. And as usual, bubble-headed economists – that is, most of them – are left scratching their heads as to why all that doubleplusgood GDP stimulation by way of “infrastructure spending” isn’t helping to keep the economy out of a worsening depression, much less “reduce economic inequality” by trickling down to the unwashed masses. But I’m sure they’ll learn from their mistakes “next time”.

  20. Chauncey Gardiner

    Enlightening graphic for visualizing China’s shrinking economy from the Business Insider. Helps explain a lot, particularly developments in commodity-dependent countries and economic sectors. If accurately portrayed, the rate of China’s economic contraction is as astounding as China’s prior reported economic growth rates.

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